Bayona to Cascais
The next morning, Monday the 3rd. September was beautiful, warm and calm.
We raised the anchor at 08.40 and headed out from the bay under engine.
As we passed the town of Bayona, a similar size yacht to us came steaming out from the marina on a converging track with us. As she got closer, I recognized her. Tara is owned by a fellow club member, Bob Stewart and we stopped close to each other. They were on passage to DunLaoghaire and their plan was to sail non stop. It’s a long upwind haul unless you go out into the Atlantic and catch the South Westerlies which will bring you to the South East coast of Ireland. After a few minutes chatting we said our goodbyes and we wished them a bon voyage. I hope they had an easy passage.
We headed off South West to pass outside the North Cardinal buoy off Cabo Silleiro before heading due South towards Portugal .
We decided that our next port of call would be Povoa de Varzim at a distance of 48nm.
At 11.45, while it was still calm, we crossed into Portuguese waters. We lowered the Spanish courtesy flag and raised the Portuguese one. Then we reset our clocks back one hour.
The breeze increased to 10 kts and we unfurled the Mainsail and poled out the Genoa averaging between 6 and 7 knots. It was a lovely relaxing sail.
At 16.40 we arrived at Povoa having motored and sailed 48nm. In 8 hours.
The log reading was 2,267 miles.
Next morning at 10.40 we left Povoa for Figueira da Foz some 70 plus miles away and headed out into a heavy swell coming in from the West but with only 4 kts of breeze.
I guess that there was some stormy weather well out to sea.
We rolled heavily as we motored along and I reduced the engine revs to 1,400rpm which gave us a speed of 6kts.
The wind gradually increased to 10kts., so we unfurled the mainsail and genoa and beam reached at over 7 kts which reduced the rolling. Other than the swell, it was a beautiful day. The colour of the sea changed to a beautiful electric blue and the temperature rose a few degrees.
The wind held for a few hours which made for pleasant sailing despite the swell and our progress was good.
As the sun began to set, the wind also began to die so it was back to motoring again.
At 21.15 we entered Figueira da Foz having sailed and motored 71 miles with the log reading 2,338.
We cleared into the marina and went ashore for a meal before retiring to an early night.
Next stop. Peniche.
We set off at 09.15 on a course of 210 degrees with a North West wind of 8 knots.
Our Latitude was 40 08.86 degrees North and 008 51.55 degrees West.
We continued on a course of 210 and the wind increased to 14 kts by 13.00 and 16/18kts 30 minutes later. At last we were in the Portuguese trades.
The swell was from the North West at about 2 metres so conditions were great for sailing and we carried along under full main and genoa averaging 7.5 kts.
Cabo Carvoeiro outside Peniche with the wind gusting over 20 kts off the point.
We arrived into the harbour of at 17.05 having radioed ahead an hour previously.
We motored head to wind to furl the sails and the main started catching again at the battens.
We got it furled after a few attempts and headed towards the marina.
The wind was still gusting 20 kts and we were told to take a berth on the outside trot between two yachts which were tied up port side. The wind was at an angle of 30 degrees to the pontoon on the right.
I took one look at the space and could tell that it wasn’t big enough. The leading boat had plenty of space to move forward but he was reluctant to do so. The marina manager eventually got him to agree to move while we circled about.
The boat only moved half the distance that he could have, making barely enough space for us to fit.
I knew that with the gusting wind we only had one attempt to berth. If we got it wrong, we’d hit either the boat astern or ahead.
A couple of people from two other boats came to the aid of the marina manager to take our lines.
Brian and I discussed the sequence and timing and went for it. I motored into the gap more quickly than I would have liked, swung hard to starboard and gave the engine a large dart astern.
The boat stopped quickly, parallel to the dock, and the line handlers quickly tied us off.
Astern we had about a foot clearance between our rib on the davits and the bow of the boat behind us while ahead we had about 4 foot clearance. Not a lot for a boat measuring 60 feet including the overhangs.
The chap in the boat ahead just sat in the cockpit ignoring the proceedings.
Anyway, after tidying up and sorting the paperwork with the marine office, we went to explore the town.
Peniche is a traditional fishing town with a tremendous amount of boat activity.
Everytime a trawler came into the harbour a siren would sound. I guess it was alerting the shore people to be ready to receive the catch. This went on all throughout the evening and night.
It wasn’t annoying. It was just the sound of a busy working harbour, which is great to see.
We went to a seafood restaurant which was buzzing with lots of people and had a great meal.
Next stop was Cascais which is only 43 miles from Peniche.
The forecast was for 25 kts from the North West.
At 09.00, we prepared to leave our very tight berth with the wind blowing at 15 kts., forward of the beam. It was pushing us onto the pontoon, so we planned to spring ourselves off at a deep angle, passing through head to wind.
We placed 4 of our large fenders at the aft quarter and brought our stern line forward to a cleat on the dock at our midship point. We then let all the other lines go and I put Pamela into reverse while at the same time using the bow thruster to push our bow out. We continued to swing out to starboard until we were at a 60 degree angle to the pontoon while still held fast at the stern. Brian then quickly slipped the line while I gave the throttle a big dart ahead to push us clear of the boat ahead. It all worked out perfectly and, with a foot or two to spare, we cleared the boat ahead and got safely out into the channel.
Once outside, we encountered a fleet of local fishing boats working as a team.
They consisted of a group of 9 boats in a circle with a chase boat moving towards them.
Lying stationery outside of this was a larger boat with huge nets.
I later enquired as to what type of fishing they were doing. Apparently, during August and September, the tuna are moving past the area in huge shoals and the boats were working hard to take advantage of the large catches available. The chase boat draws the tuna into the circle to trap them and the boat with the big nets draws them up,
This is an old but very efficient way of working as a team and was interesting to watch.
Anyway, we turned Southwards on a course of 205 degrees, having unfurled the sails successfully.
The wind was blowing 20 to 25 kts. as we sailed under a small reef in the main and the working jib.
We were averaging 9 kts. plus.
Hopefully this is a forerunner for our Transatlantic crossing.
At 13.55 we had Cabo de Roca abeam while still maintaining 9 kts.
The Volvo 65 Scalliwag passed behind us on the opposite gybe. She was on a training day out, beating up the coast and running downwind, in total over 100 miles.
As we came around the headland the wind gusted to 35 kts. and we had to dump the main to stop us rounding up towards the beach. We had, however, kept a safe distance off because this area is known for it’s strong gusts off the hill.
At 14.00 I radioed the marina asking for a berth for a few nights and we arrived at 15.15 just as a fellow Discovery 55, September Too was leaving, heading South.
Once again the mainsail got jammed as it furled but after some gentle in and out on the furler, we eventually got it stowed away.
Our Latitude was 38 41.59 North and 009 24.31 West.
The log reading was 2,435 nm.
Distance travelled, 1,272 nm
The next day we took the main off to discover that all the battens were breaking through the tops of the pockets. This could be quite dangerous because if any one of them broke completely through, there would have been no way to furl the sail.
There’s a North Sail loft at the marina and Brian, knowing the manager, brought him down to the boat.
We took all the battens out, folded the sail and it went up to the loft to be sorted.
North’s went back to the drawing board between the States, the Far East and the UK.
They ran computer models to see what was the best option for us. They agreed that we couldn’t just repair the batten pockets.
On Friday the 8th., Brian and Kate departed for Dublin and my sister Laura and her husband Stephen arrived.
The following day Jose Perez from Madrid arrived to sail to the Canaries to do some photography.
Our original plan had been to depart Cascais on the Sunday and head up to one of Lisbon’s city marinas for a few days. We were then going sail down the coast to Lagos before heading off towards Lanzarote with the possibility of sailing out to Madeira first. This course would have given us a reach to Madeira and a reach to Lanzarote, making for comfortable fast sailing.
As it was, this plan was about to change.
During the following week North’s came back with the suggestion that they remove the battens and pockets altogether and recut the leech while at the same time reinforcing it with Kevlar.
Towards the end of the week, the plans were put in place and the sail modifications were made.
The Kevlar material was to ship out overnight from Portsmouth on Monday the 11th.
Unfortunately it was shipped by the standard rate and it took till Friday the 15th. to arrive in Cascais
I felt sorry for the crew who had hoped to be sailing instead of sitting in port for 2 weeks.
Cascais beach and bay by day and by night.